Linux 2.6.24: First impressions - disappointed

The linux-kbuild-2.6.24 package was finally available in Debian today. (Small aside: why does it always take a few days after the release of the linux-image packages before the linux-kbuild package is available?) I need to use the proprietary nvidia drivers on my machines, so I have to wait for the kbuild backage before I can compile and install the nvidia driver for the new kernel.

Anyway...after a short 'sudo m-a a-i -l 2.6.24-1-amd64 nvidia', I could reboot into the shiny new kernel!

New kernels always seem faster, so I was getting excited after booting up. After logging in though, I couldn't connect to my wireless network. I had previously been using the bcm43xx driver, and looking through the changelog, I discovered it had been deprecated in favor of the new b43 / b43legacy drivers.

Ok, no problem, just load the new module...wait for network-manager to pick it up...wait for it...wait...wait...Screw it. Edit /etc/network/interfaces, uncomment the stuff for the wireless device, and then 'ifup eth2'. Kernel oops.

Well that sucks. Back to 2.6.23 I go.

Incidentally, it's not just this oops in 2.6.24 that has me disappointed. Everything since 2.6.18 has been a bit risky. It used to be that upgrading a kernel within the same major.minor release was a relatively safe thing to do. I actively use two different kernels on my machine at home:

  • 2.6.21 since it supports the raw1394 interface that dvgrab requires to download video from my camcorder, but wireless is very flaky

  • 2.6.23 since wireless is more robust

I still occasionally get lockups, forcing a hard reboot. Maybe this is my fault, I am running the proprietary nvidia driver, and I do use suspend to ram quite a bit, even though it thinks my hardware isn't supported.

Maybe too much is changing too fast between kernel releases, not allowing userspace to keep up? Not sure, all I know is I'm doing much more rebooting in my Linux machine than I used to.